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Please note: the conference is in BUILDING 2 on the UC Bruce campus. 
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DAILY FORECAST (care of Describing Things in Canberra):  

Wednesday Canberra weather: regardless of any thing Neil Finn may have said, you don’t really have your own personal weather bubble. You can easily test this by travelling from the Woden Valley to the northside on foggy morning. Or getting on a plane in December and flying to Helsinki.

So those of you who are in Canberra today will probably experience much the same weather as each other. Warm to hot and slighty sticky. The weather equivalent of spilling cocoa on your new trousers.

Chemical interventions such as deodorant, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anti-histamines are strongly indicated. Consider long before you commit to opaque tights, however hairy your legs are. Once the sun is over the yard arm, applications of gin and tonic may be beneficial.



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Tuesday, November 29 • 10:00am - 11:00am
Grand Romanticist Larceny :: 2A4

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Chantelle Bayes: Renegotiating Nature: Writing the Post-Romantic Australian City 

The legacy of Romanticism infiltrates contemporary nature writing. Without questioning the link, writers may end up reinforcing misconceptions about nature. Nature writers of the Romantic Movement, such as Thoreau, responded to the exploitation of natural resources and loss of untamed nature in an age of technological innovation but the Romantic idea of ‘nature as a redemptive force’ and the ideological separation of nature and culture remain problematic. In this paper, I explore some of Romanticism’s legacies for nature writing and how contemporary writers both draw on and resist Romantic conventions in the genre. I argue that Australian cities provide sites of resistance for writers, where they might address some of the more problematic aspects of Romantic thought. Cities are places not traditionally associated with nature writing and places where nature/culture relationships might be re-imagined, complicating notions of place, nature and the urban to arrive at new post-Romantic ways of writing nature. 

Alexandra McCallum:  Negotiating with Larceny: A 21st Century Response to the Romantics 

Negative Romantic images of urbanisation during the industrial revolution have been continually renegotiated by writers seeking a more hopeful representation of urban life. What Walter Benjamin described as “the new Romantic conception” of the cityscape and Virginia Woofe called “street haunting” transferred the sense of romantic wandering to urban environments. Key to these portrayals is a Romantic sense that the specific experiences of individuals can provide a way in to urban experience more generally; that “the illusion that one is not tethered to a single mind but … can put on briefly bodies and minds of others” (Woolfe) and indeed a semi-mystical connection with the infinite – as if instead of finding the “universe in a grain of sand” (Blake) we might find London in ‘lead pencil” (Woolfe).

While contemporary author as Orhan Pamuk, particularly in his recent novel A Strangeness in my Mind have continued this sense of the city as a site of Romance and indeed nostalgia; other authors mindful of identity and post-identity politics have questioned the appropriateness of attempting to “put on … the minds of others”; which can be seen as a kind of larceny or appropriation; even if that process is an admitted to be an “illusion” (Woolfe). Increasing understanding of the diversity of urban experience; for example between the Melbourne of Tsiolkas and Lagos of Chris Abani and have also complicated the sense that individual urban experience can be seen to representative of a larger macrocosm called The City. This paper will examine the ongoing influence of Romantic ideas on contemporary fiction and particularly; in the context of the author’s own novel manuscript – discuss possible narrative strategies for representing urban experience by recovering a sense of connectedness and the numinous advocated by the Romantics without losing the valuable insights of postcolonial and postmodern thinking.

Kirk Dodd:  The Tragicall Hiftorie of Woollarawarre Bennelong, Native Ambassador of Nova Hollandia.

This paper presents two scenes from a play that re-applies Shakespeare’s creative techniques to the creation of five act drama called: The Tragicall Hiftorie of Woollarawarre Bennelong, Native Ambassador of Nova Hollandia. By imitating Shakespeare’s style and dramaturgy, I aim to develop a ‘Shakespearean’ aesthetic that can harness something of the power and epic sweep of Shakespeare’s plays – so suited to historical drama. Where most contemporary verse dramatists tend to separate themselves from Shakespeare yet fail to hold onto strong audiences, I believe this is because audiences bring with them an inescapable expectation that equates Shakespeare with verse drama. I therefore seek to use academic rigour to discover the methods used by Shakespeare and to re-apply these to a verse drama that seeks to conform to audience expectations. Where many theatre companies tend also to corrupt Shakespeare’s texts in order to ‘reinvent’ them for the stage, my approach to creating new ‘Shakespearean’ plays allows us to celebrate what is authentic about Shakespeare’s contribution whilst simultaneously enjoying new drama. By using Shakespearean techniques – internalised soliloquys, rhetorical flair, the telescoping of chronology (to allow Pemulwuy’s war into the narrative) to name a few – these have allowed me to incorporate themes more pertinent to an Indigenous perspective than a Eurocentric one; a perspective that has been traditionally misunderstood, silenced, or written out of the historical record. The forcefulness of Shakespeare’s blank verse can therefore help generate a stronger connection between the audience and the play’s perspectives because of its structure and aural qualities, and a stronger connection can allow us to re-view the events of history more critically. I continue to submit this play to the scrutiny of consultation about its cultural content according to the protocols recommended by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Daniel Martin: A more likely outcome

In this text, the plot of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will be recrafted as a poem incorporating the advice given to Italian princes by Niccolò Machiavelli, the most infamous political theorist of the 16th century.
     Shakespeare’s 1597 Romeo and Juliet play was based on an Italian tale, told and retold by Italian writers, the most important of whom were Masuccio Salernitano (born in 1410), Luigi da Porto (born in 1485) and Matteo Bandello (born in 1480). Bandello’s novellas were translated into French by Pierre Boaistuau (born in 1517) and François de Belleforest (born in 1530). These French translations, in turn, were translated into English by William Painter (born 1540) and Arthur Brooke (born 1563). Literary critics agree that the primary source of inspiration for Shakespeare’s play was Brooke’s narrative poem, titled The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, which condemns the young lovers for neglecting the authority of their parents.
     By taking a poetic leap, using fragments, insights and variations of the original Italian novellas and their translations, the poem will attempt to unveil the Italian flavour of the plot, lost behind all those rewritings, reinterpretations and well-intended but nefarious distortions which embellished the tale beyond recognition. Adding a layer of realpolitik inspired by the writings of Machiavelli, the raw political moral of the story will become apparent, almost.

avatar for Chantelle Bayes

Chantelle Bayes

Chantelle Bayes has recently submitted her creative writing PhD exploring nature/culture relationships in fiction about cities. 

Kirk Dodd

University of New South Wales
Kirk Dodd is about to submit his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of New South Wales. His dissertation examines Shakespeare’s application of Cicero’s treatise on rhetorical invention, and re-applies findings about Shakespeare’s methods of composition to a new Australian play called Bennelong, which aims to achieve a ‘Shakespearean’ epic sweep and aesthetic. He has lectured on Shakespeare and taught classes... Read More →

Daniel Martin

Australian National University
Daniel Martín teaches Spanish in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU. His traditional research output includes papers on the Spanish-speaking community in Australia, the politics of language teaching in Australia, and the use of technology in language teaching. His non-traditional research output includes nine books, scripts for three films, two radio plays and four theatre plays, as well as shorter works... Read More →
avatar for Alexandra McCallum

Alexandra McCallum

HDR Student, Griffith University
Alexandra McCallum is a PhD Creative writing candidate at Griffith University. She was selected for the Tin House Writers workshop in 2012, and her work for performance has appeared in Metro Arts and Darwin Festival.

Tuesday November 29, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
2A4 Building 2, UC

Attendees (5)